Sukhvinder Singh ‘Pinky’

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Sukhwinder Singh (affectionately known as ‘Pinky’) is a singular percussionist, specialising in low-tuned tabla and jori. Hailing from the Punjab, his first musical immersions were in dholak and pakhawaj, playing traditional Sikh devotional music.

His talent was spotted early, and at age five he became a disciple of pakhawaj exponent Nihal Singh. His public debut aged 13 left a strong impression on Alla Rakha, but soon after he left to Varanasi to train under the legendary Benares gharana master Pandit Kishan Maharaj.

His subsequent career has featured accompaniment slots with Pandit Ravi Shankar, Ustad Vilayat Khan, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan, and other leading Hindustani instrumentalists, and a Grammy award for his work with Ry Cooder and Pandit Vishwa Mohan Bhatt on A Meeting by the River.

Ustad Zakir Hussain proclaimed him to be the world’s foremost jori exponent after his solo at Allah Rakha’s 2016 memorial concert. Now based in India, England, and Canada, he is known as a charismatic performer and teacher, dedicated to bringing the Punjab and Benares repertoire to audiences around the world.

—Also see Living Traditions: 21 articles for 21st-century Indian classical music, our new series exploring how music with ancient roots continues to innovate in a fast-paced, interconnected modern world. Expand your appreciation!

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